Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are in the midst of our series about 1998's Thief; we talk about the story development of the world, some small mechanical bits, and then dig into the level design of the four levels we played. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.
Through "The Sword"
Issues covered: getting shot with an arrow, starting with the day in the life of a thief, establishing a baseline of a life, introducing the Hammerites and other groups, verses from religious texts, things are getting weird, weaving in "The Dark Project," upsetting the balance, the trope of stumbling into something larger, significance of what you're stealing, interludes vs cutscenes, preferring the mundane to the strange in this game, player expectations of story, surprising the audience, industrial/steampunk setting mixing with magic, wanting more from the city, leaning into weird backstory but drifting away, not needing the bizarre framing devices, constructing your story level to level, individual contributions driving story, extending the core fantasy with new mechanics, knucklehead stealth, sword swinging mechanics, complexity of collisions, the efficiency of the blackjack, adding traps and lock picks, slow projectiles, being able to see the mechanisms behind the traps, methodical trap avoidance, player skill in reading the environment, committing to first-person in lock-picking, triggering character skill, adding a lock-picking mini-game to the franchise, being a predator in other games, claustrophobia in narrow corridors, hacking a zombie to bits, the mournful music of the horn, building Garrett's character and placing him in the world, surprise switch objective, a level that is too long, not having the texture budget to support the level design, being lost, picking up things and having them in your inventory, doing stuff in the wrong order, banging up against the banners, being a second story guy, rope arrow mechanics, a weird space, relying on physics engines, level as character building, weird promotions, flipping the script and driving you away.
Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dungeons & Dragons, Tomb Raider, System Shock 2, The Usual Suspects, Memento, Hitman (series), Assassin's Creed, Dario Casali, Half-Life, Dark Forces, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, Hal Barwood, Die By The Sword, Ultima Underworld, Leon: The Professional, Ken Levine, Dark Souls, Pipe Dreams, Kent Hudson, Thief: Deadly Shadows, Arkham Asylum, Deus Ex, Stephen King, Creepshow, Swamp Thing, Cthulhu, HP Lovecraft, Gothic Chocobo, Fallout 3, Bulletstorm, People Can Fly, EA Partners, Turok, Dante's Inferno, Brutal Legend, Jack Black, The Way, Grand Theft Auto IV.
@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub